Fifty Years of Oregon Humanities

Looking back and looking forward in 2021

In 1971, six years after its founding, the National Endowment for the Humanities experimented with three different state affiliate models. Oregon was one of two states (along with Wyoming) to try the model of the volunteer committee—an independent organization rather than a state agency or a university department. This model proved to be an effective way to engage a wide range of individuals and organizations in supporting, developing, and implementing public humanities programs. The model stuck. Today, the great majority of state and territorial humanities councils are, like Oregon Humanities, independent nonprofit organizations that have formed strong partnerships across multiple sectors and networks in their state. 

Entering its fiftieth year, Oregon Humanities has gone far beyond its original charter. In 2021, we’re looking back at the last fifty years and forward at the next fifty. On this page, you'll find stories and events related to this milestone for our organization.

We’re proud to have two of our longstanding partners joining the fiftieth anniversary celebration: the Collins Foundation and the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund have both made generous matching grants in honor of the occasion. New and increased donations this year will be matched dollar-for-dollar.
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Next Fifty Interviews

Each month in 2021 we will publish an interview with forward-thinking Oregonians on what the future holds for our region.